3,539 of 3,624 people found the following review helpful
The most useful purchase since the first generation iPod!!,
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I preordered my Kindle in mid August and it arrived a couple of days ago (mid September). Eagerly I opened up the Amazon Easy open box (which, as the name suggests, was remarkably easy to open!) and inside was my new Kindle, charger/synch cable and limited instructions (there are more complete instructions on the device).
I had spent a lot of time researching ereaders prior to my purchase but to be honest I was still not prepared for how great the Kindle would look in the flesh. Smaller and lighter than I imagined it just felt right. Also some reviewers had talked about thinking of trying to peel off the actual image on the screen, well I can confirm that even knowing that the thought crossed my mind - The e-ink looks absolutely great.
After plugging it in (not for long) I then switched it on and after setting up the account/wifi etc (I have the 3g and WiFi version but figured I was better using WiFi to start with) I had a look. What a great experience this was, the device is very intuitive and not once did I have to refer to the instruction manual. Some books I had ordered had already appeared and I had a look and first impressions were spot on, easy to move the pages and easy to hold and read.
Since then I have got to know this device and I would like to take you through my early experiences. Firstly prior to ordering it I could not believe the price and how competitive the Kindle 3 is. I had been looking at the Kindle 2 International and Kindle DX and both were well over the price of the Kindle 3. Likewise compare the Kindle 3 with the Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony PRS series and the like and it is very competitive. So the price was convincing. Then the user experience just got better:
The Kindle Store - very easy to use. Very simple to access from the device and you just browse and, if you want to buy and you have set your Amazon account to 1 click ordering then you just select your book and it is straight on your device to read.
The charger/sync cable - Looks really nice and the plug detaches from the USB adapter so that you can plug it straight into your Laptop etc. The upside of this is that it will also charge from any USB enabled adapter or plug, so charging from your car etc will be very easy. Please note one thing that causes confusion. A lot of people refer to the end of the cable that plugs into the Kindle as a standard USB Mini B connection. Please note it is NOT it is a proprietary connection. I had been looking forward to charging with a regular USB to Mini B cable so please don't make the same mistake I did. However it is not a big deal and Amazon are already selling replacement cables on their site.
Screensavers - When the Kindle goes to sleep Artwork and famous historical figures appear on the Kindle. Some people I noticed were moaning about this. Why? They look FANTASTIC, and I love looking to see which one has appeared!
Ergonomics - I find the Kindle excellent to hold. I read a lot in bed and it is really easy for me to grip the Kindle with my thumb hovering over the page turn button so I do not have to move to turn the pages - Way easier than a book and it just works in a seamless, easy and immersive way. To be honest that has been my experience of the Kindle - I don't notice it is there is the same way I do not notice the physical element of a paper book when I am reading it.
Whispernet - Utterly brilliant - If you have purchased the book from Amazon then the page you have ended on synchs across all your devices (Please note you need to go to the Manage my Kindle section of your Amazon account and enable this feature). I have an iPhone, iPad and Laptop enabled with Kindle reading software and it is a brilliant feature. For example I was in the airport and did not want to use my Kindle while I was going to my gate so read some of the book on my iPhone and then on the plane just carried on from the same place with my Kindle (make sure that you turn it on prior to the plane taking off so that it can access Whispernet otherwise it cannot synch the last read page). However note this does not work if you have not purchased the content from the Amazon store.
Newspapers - I have tried a trial Newspaper subscription and it is ok - To be honest navigation is more intuitive on an iPhone/iPad but it is a useful feature - I am not sure if I will continue with a paid subscription though. One thing here that took me a while to figure out that makes moving through the articles easier is that you can instantly move from article using the 5 way control pad (right click to go forward) rather than using the page turn button and having to go through all the article pages before you get to the next one.
Text to Speech -Tried it and it is pretty cool and also a bit weird! I don't listen to many audio books anyway so I don't think I will be using this feature much. Again nice to have though!
MP3 Playback - The rear speakers are surprisingly good and the music sounds good to my admittedly non sophisticated ears. However the fact that you cannot organise your music and the relatively small 4gb storage provided on the kindle means I won't be giving up my iPod any time soon!
Internet - Again your iPhone is more intuitive here on the move and a better experience. However if this is not available to you or you want to avoid roaming charges when out of your service providers country it is a surprisingly useable experience in black and white. Very much in the `Nice to have' box.
Battery life - Excellent. I have not quite managed the 10 days that are mentioned with Wireless always switched on but then again I have been using the Kindle a lot over the last couple of days!
Comics - Hmm, I have tried this with a couple of things. Something like `Calvin and Hobbes' works brilliantly so newspaper cartoons are a definite plus. However I also put on a couple of Batman comics on PDF and these were not great - I could not really zoom properly so changed the viewing mode to landscape (just press the Aa button on the keypad and change it from there) and this just chopped the comic page in half which is not ideal. I think this would be a much better experience if you used the 9.7 inch screen on the DX. This is still going to be in black and white though - Comics are better served by the iPad which leads me to -
iPad vs Kindle - Why does everything I read have these two products as an either or? I am a total Apple devotee, own Mac Laptops and PowerPC, iPhone/pad and plenty of other Apple products and I still think that to be honest they absolutely complement each other. I think if you can, get both! The iPad wins hands down on areas like e-mail, Web Browsing and Comics - Then it should - It is a relatively heavy LCD screen with an Apple A4 processor that does a great job of multitasking. The Kindle does a GREAT job of doing what it does best - reading books! There is no way that I `forget' my iPad is there when I am reading but I do with a Kindle. There is no way that the iPad has a battery life long enough to just leave in the bedside cabinet and read whenever I want, whereas the Kindle does. The Kindle does not make my eyes tired after extended use as the iPad does. Comparison between the amounts of books in the respective Kindle and iBook stores is irrelevant as you can have the Kindle store on the iPad also. However what is relevant is that if you have the 3G kindle you can download books from anywhere without the crazy data prices and initial buy cost of the 3G enabled iPad. The Kindle is dedicated to reading books and it does it better than the iPad full stop - Despite many comments I have seen to the opposite I still think that e-ink is the future for book reading on electrical devices and the Kindle has been the only device where I have thought, wow, I am going to be reading most of my books on this moving forward.
Screen Quality - I am blown away by the Kindle screen and e-ink every time I use it - I think if you have not seen one then you should it just looks superb.
Calibre - This takes the Kindle to a whole new level and simply blew me away. Anyone who has a Kindle really ought to download this brilliant program. It is free (just type Calibre into google etc) and is compatible with Mac and PC. Installation is easy and the program itself just moves the Kindle user experience from the great to the must have purchase that I now believe it is. Calibre allows you to convert and hold all of your previous ebooks or ebooks that you download from free sites like Gutenburg etc into the Kindle Mobi (.azw) file format. Conversion is so simple my gran could do it and even if you cannot manage that then if you try to download it onto the Kindle in the wrong format it will automatically convert it for you! You can also set it up to email your Kindle via your .kindle.com email address (This is set up in the `manage my kindle' section of the Amazon site). Please note if you do not want to be charged by Amazon for doing this set it up to email your free email address (just add free in front of your kindle.com email address) however your Kindle will ONLY download the documents when it on a WiFi network and not over 3g (no great hardship!). In this way if you email books etc from Calibre you do not even have to plug your Kindle into your laptop etc to get new books, so you can either just download from Amazon Kindle store or send from your Calibre program!! The icing on the cake is that you can also set it to automatically (using templates provided on Calibre) set the program to download magazines like Wired etc and e-mail it straight to your Kindle so it is autodelivered without you having to go anywhere near your mac or pc.
I said at the start of this review that the Kindle is the most useful thing I have purchased since my first generation iPod. That was the first time I could take my music library with my properly. Now I can take my books digitally as well. A must have in my book (pardon the pun!).
I hope this review was useful to you:)
Review addition: Since reviewing this Kindle someone has kindly pointed out that the synch cable uses is a USB to MICRO USB cable. So whilst I was correct in saying that it is not a USB to Mini USB cable it is not a proprietary cable so there will be third party cables available on the market. Apologies for any confusion.
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Showing 1-10 of 115 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Sep 2010 19:52:19 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 22 Nov 2011 11:54:41 GMT]
In reply to an earlier post on 17 Sep 2010 20:20:19 BDT
Hi there - Great point and thanks for that, prior to writing the review I did try a number of my Mini B cables (which I had thought the connector would be) however thanks for letting me know about the Micro USB cable, I will keep my eye out for one and update my review if I can find one and it connects.
Posted on 17 Sep 2010 22:14:53 BDT
Great review. Very thorough. Positive without being overzealous. I've been convinced and am now waiting for a delivery date. The only slight negative I have at the moment is that I would have liked to see a larger collection of books available. For example the S F Masterworks series only has a couple of books available out of its few hundred collection.
Posted on 19 Sep 2010 02:56:10 BDT
Amazon Customer says:
What an excellent and balanced review. I must admit though, that I was surprised to read that you have an ipad that multitasks.
In reply to an earlier post on 19 Sep 2010 19:15:40 BDT
Hi Nigel - Fair point re Multitasking on the iPad!! I guess what I was trying to say that I use the iPad for multiple tasks eg email, web etc rather than the dedicated task of just reading. Really appreciate your positive feedback - Thank you very much.
Posted on 24 Sep 2010 12:24:20 BDT
D. T. Anderson says:
Another great review on the Kindle. Many thanks for passing on your experience. And with each review I read I learn something more. So also thanks for the information on Calibre, which I will look at straight away.
In reply to an earlier post on 24 Sep 2010 13:08:38 BDT
No problem D.T it is always nice to be of service! If there are any questions that I can answer on Calibre happy to do so - There is a great intro video on the website when you first go to download it that does a really good job of explaining how it works etc. Good luck with it.
In reply to an earlier post on 25 Sep 2010 19:20:04 BDT
Mrs. D. Smith says:
Can you use the Kindle to download from the county libraries please, and also, what about if you havent got wifi, but a fixed laptop, can you download via usb please
In reply to an earlier post on 25 Sep 2010 21:27:04 BDT
Hi there Mrs Smith -
As far as I know (I have not tried it~) the Kindle does not work with county libraries as the file format is different - Libraries use EPUB and Kindle uses MOBI (.azw) file format.
Yes you can certainly downlooad books from your laptop onto the Kindle - Kindle works with both Macs and PCs and just mounts as an additional drive. Calibre as mentioned in my review is also an excellent way of organising your books, magazines, newspapers etc and you can download straight to the Kindle via USB from there.
I hope this helps;)
Posted on 27 Sep 2010 09:09:05 BDT
CS Ang says: